La Union Surfing Capital of the North
La Union is a province in the Philippines located in the Ilocos Region in the island of Luzon. Its capital is the city of San Fernando, which also serves as the regional center of the whole Ilocos Region. The province is bordered by Ilocos Sur to the north, Benguet to the east, Pangasinan to the south and to the west by the shores of the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea). Due to its proximity and accessibility, La Union is definitely the most visited surfing destinations in the Philippines. La Union has a lot of tourist spots that locals should be proud of. Aside from being a surfing capital, La Union is also popular for local and foreign tourist because of its active nightlife. There are several bars along the main road that offers beachfront party experience.
La Union has unusual travel seasons. While most destinations in the Philippines come to life during summer (March-May), San Juan’s peak season runs from October to March, when the big waves make their appearance to play with the town’s growing surfing community. But remember that October and November are rainy months. If you’re surfing but don’t want uncaring weather, December-March is your safest bet. Two of the most popular destinations in La Union lie just next to each other. San Fernando, the capital city, and San Juan, the surfing hub. Which to pick depends on your itinerary and desired type of accommodations. How to get there? From Manila to La Union. If you are coming from Manila you can ride a bus to San Fernando, La Union like Partas, Viron and Dominion. Bus fare approximately 436 pesos depending on the type of bus. Travel time is about 5 to 7 hours depending on traffic and where you are coming from. From San Fernando, you can take a jeep to Urbiztondo Beach or San Juan, La Union for less tha 20 pesos. Alternatively you can charter a tricyle for around 50 pesos per person. Travel time is about 25 minutes.
Things to Do in La Union. 1st Surf in San Juan. Much of the renewed interest in La Union can be traced back to San Juan’s flourishing surfing culture. It is what put the province back on the tourism map. If you’re visiting between October-March, you’ll be greeted by challenging swells that are surfboard-magnets. If you don’t know how to surf yet, you’ll find a number of groups offering surfing lessons along the beaches of San Juan. 2nd Trek to Tangadan Falls in San Gabriel. Accessible after a 45 to 60-minute trek, this waterfall is one of the better cascades in La Union and is near San Juan. You’ll be straddling Baroro River so prepare to get wet along the way. Make a splash at the pool under the column at the end of the trail! How to get there from San Juan: Ride a jeepney to San Gabriel (16 pesos) and then hire a tricycle to the start of the trail (30 pesos). 3rd Visit Ma-cho Temple in San Fernando. Perched atop a hill 70 feet above sea level, this Taoist temple overlooks the city of San Fernando. Dedicated to Ma-cho, the goddess of the sea, it was built by the the city’s Chinese community but is open to people of all faiths. In fact, an 8-inch image is Ma-cho housed in the temple is said to be the same image of Our Lady of Caysasay, venerated in Taal, Batangas. 4th Get extreme at Pugad in Pugo. At Pugad: Pugo Adventure, you may enjoy wall climbing, rappelling, ATV driving, and ziplining among others. 5th Take a dip at Tapuakan River in Pugo. Not too far from Pugad is Tapuakan River, a shallow stream punctuated by giant white boulders. It’s a totally scenic spot to relax and refresh. 6th and last Stroll along the Pebble Beach of Luna. The best beaches are not always strewn with fine sand. Luna’s pebble beach has its own charms. Don’t leave without dropping by the Luna Watch Tower and Bahay na Bato. Also in Luna is Occalong Falls, a small waterfall that can be reached after a short trek. How to get there from San Juan: Ride a bus bound for Vigan/Laoag and tell driver to drop you off at Balaoan (30 pesos). From Balaoan, take a tricycle to Luna (10 pesos).
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